Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany – January 29, 1977
(50:48) Sheep, Pigs On The Wing Part 1, Dogs, Pigs On The Wing Part 2, Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Pink Floyd’s In The Flesh tour took place in the first half of 1977 and while there is a plethora of high quality audience recordings, there is precious little from the soundboard. In fact, the fifty minute fragment from Berlin, Germany in January of 1977 comprises the only known circulating music with that lineage. There is a 40 minute fragment from Vienna on February 1, 1977 but the general consensus is that it is an ambient mic recording and not a true soundboard, the dead giveaway is the audience noise heard that would be in too close proximity to a soundboard microphone feed.
The Berlin material has circulated before, three songs, Pigs On The Wing Part 1, Pigs On The Wing Part 2, and Pigs (Three Different Ones) first appeared on Desk Tape – Darkside II (HB-02). Sheep and Dogs were released on European Animals (Highland Project HLP-075) and the full recording finally appeared on Berlin 1977 (Windmill 028), both of these titles were CD-R releases, so this new release by Sigma presents the full recording on silver disc. I will be using the Windmill title for comparison purposes, but first the quality of this soundboard. Considered to be a monitor tape, the mix features the guitars in the foreground with vocals and keyboards also being clear, the drums are undefined and somewhat buried. The balance of the instruments does not stay consistent either and will move from the left to the right during different songs. The sound is a little flat, and while clear, is dry and lacks atmosphere, this coupled with the Animals portion of the show comes off as cold and lifeless.
When comparing this new Sigma title to the Windmill, one finds them to be most similar, after listening to both I find the differences so minimal that nothing really stands out. The recording begins with Sheep, interesting to hear the guitar work of Gilmour and Waters and how they interact with each other. The guitar slashing at the end sounds corrosive and mechanical but makes for a powerful ending. Pigs On The Wing Part 1 is very low in the mix and difficult to hear, again lending to credence that this is a monitor mix. Dogs is better balanced than the previous two songs, Gilmour’s vocals are also higher in the mix than Roger’s. I have always enjoyed Dogs as it has a certain dreamlike quality to it, especially the middle section where Richard Wright plays a hazy synthesizer, like fog over the moors while the hounds howl in the distance. The ending is equally as powerful with the final lyrical crescendo featuring harmonized vocals by Gilmour and Waters. Pigs On The Wing Part 2 is not as low in the mix as Part 1 was making for a far better listening experience, Roger’s vocals have a sad quality to them. Pigs (Three Different Ones) is certainly one of the band’s angriest songs, the balance on this song makes it a bit difficult to enjoy, Roger’s vocals are low in the mix, Dave’s vocals and guitar are louder and the keyboards are very low in the mix for the first half of the song. There is a plus to the poor balance, you can hear in clear detail what Dave is playing and it’s quite interesting to hear it unaltered, his Telecaster has a warm tone to it with just a touch of distortion. At the 11:47 mark Roger gives a clear shout of “five” as this is the fifth show of the tour.
The packaging features Animals style graphics superimposed over a live shot of the band during Shine On You Crazy Diamond on the cover and live shots on the rear and interior. There is the collectible numbered sticker and picture CD and as a bonus you get a miniature replica In The Flesh tour program. Nice to have this soundboard in my collection but for me, is not a title that will get much listening time as I much prefer a good audience recording over this type of board, something with ambiance and life.